FMHS students making strides on new press box


FORT MADISON – With school ready to open, a group of about 14 building trades students will have a “large” task awaiting them.

Inside the workshop of Fort Madison High School building trades instructor Clint Kobelt, is two large sections of the new press box that will go up on visitor’s side of Richmond Stadium, hopefully by the Sept. 21 home game against Solon.

“We’ve got 14 kids in two sessions that have 18 days to get this disassembled, reassembled and in place at the football field,’ Kobelt said Wednesday morning.


Fort Madison building trades instructor Clint Kobelt stands next to the two parts of the new FMHS visitor’s side press box. The two pieces were built by FMHS students in the last four weeks of the past school year and now another group of students is trying to get the new facility in place by Sept. 21. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Last year’s trade’s class framed up the press box in the last four weeks of the school year and the project was used as the students final exam. In addition to building the press boxes, the students in Kobelt’s classes also did the rough construction on the Habitat for Humanities home that will be dedicated on Thursday.

The new press box will be two stories with the first floor dedicated for concessions on the visitors side and a storage area. The second floor will have three rooms for opposing teams coaches, Bloodhound assistant coaches and a radio booth. The third floor will be an open air crow’s nest for recording games. A wooden staircase will provide access to the second and third floors.

Kobelt said the buildings have been framed up and constructed inside the school, but will be taken apart in 10 foot seems and relocated on the pad where the old press box was torn down earlier this year. Seither and Cherry did the concrete and foundation work over the summer and Huffman Welding & Machine cut the bleachers on both sides and reconfigured the stands to allow for the larger press box.

The new box will have corrugated steel siding in a crimson and white color scheme.

“The concession stand footprint itself is bigger than the previous press box. It’s basically 12’x30′ and it’s a two-story structure, but on top of the second story will have a wall on the front and people can do film and video there.”

The press box will have two concession service windows on the football field side of the facility. The second story will have slide windows.

“The biggest challenge is that the students are coming in and taking over where the other students left off. So it comes down to how well did the students communicate the message to this year. The disassembly print… the reassembly print… how things are all labeled, numbered and coded,” Kobelt said

He said he has a morning and an afternoon trades class so he’ll get 2.5 hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. He said the coordination between the two will be critical in taking the box apart and re-assembling it.

“To address that, I’ve brought in a senior, Elton Kruse, who’s entered the program early and is just a standout guy and we created a position where he comes in as the site manager for the project,” Kruse said. “To make the hill just a little steeper, the goal is to have this functional by Sept. 21, so they’ve got 18 school days to get this out there. It won’t be finished, but it will be functional. Concessions won’t be operational, but it needed to be functional space in 18 working days in 2.5 hours a day in each class.”

Kobelt said the deadline is absolutely doable, but he said that’s why all the students working on the project had to be in advanced classes to get the job done.

“That would have been a bridge too far to travel,” Kobelt said.

Mohrfeld Electric will be putting in the electrical work, but the students will install the windows and continue working on finishing the project in the fall.


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